Is N.C. State going dancing?

March 10, 2012

The NCAA Tournament picture sure looks a lot better for the Wolfpack than it did at this time yesterday.

Every projection I’ve seen this morning has N.C. State in the Tournament — barely. The consensus seems to be that, as things stand right now, the Pack would be one of the last four teams in and probably playing in the First Four in Dayton on Tuesday.

I’m almost scared to write this, but State feels like a Tournament team after winning against Virginia yesterday. While I recognize that RPI isn’t everything, the Pack now ranks 49th according to Live-RPI.com, three spots ahead of the team they just beat on a neutral floor and with a much better strength of schedule. The Cavaliers are projected as a solid 9 or 10 seed in the Big Dance. If they’re in, then surely State is, too, right?

Things have broken pretty well for State over the last few days, with other bubble teams falling left and right. I know there was some thought that the regular-season sweep over Miami would have looked even better if the Hurricanes hadn’t lost to Florida State last night. But I don’t think the slight boost to the Pack’s RPI was as valuable as watching a team in direct competition for an at-large spot lose.

Still, State’s fate at this point is very much in the hands of the Selection Committee. Despite 22 wins against a tough schedule, the Pack’s only victory against a current Top 50 RPI team* came in November against Texas (who ranks 48th).

Of course, a win against North Carolina today would make the rest of this post moot. And I’d like to think it would be Mark Gottfried’s way of continuing the recent tradition of first-year State coaches making dramatic runs to the ACC Tournament finals.

 

* Virginia (52) and Miami (59) both fell out of the Top 50 yesterday, according to Live-RPI.com.

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O’Cain returns to run Pack offense

May 31, 2011

Mike O’Cain is back with the Pack!

Well, sort of.

Via Owen Good, fellow N.C. State/Technician alum and Kotaku.com columnist, we learn that the Wolfpack’s offensive coordinator on EA Sports’ NCAA Football 12 is an homage to the former Pack coach. Good lays it all out in a post on the game’s new “Coaching Carousel” feature:

That leads us back to Owen O’Cain. When you pick up NCAA Football 12, that’s the name of N.C. State’s offensive coordinator. (Game producer Ben) Haumiller himself put that in as a nod to Mike O’Cain (pictured at top), who was State’s head coach when I was the sports editor of Technician, the student newspaper. You can see the name in that screengrab. (Evidently he was hired from within after a surprise departure, the way O’Cain himself was when Dick Sheridan abruptly stepped down in 1993.)

O’Cain’s sort-of appearance in the game is a reminder of how odd his tenure at State was. As Good notes, O’Cain’s teams included some excellent players (led by Torry Holt) and had some astounding wins (FSU in ’98, Syracuse in ’97 and ’98, Texas in ’99). He also sandwiched the FSU and Syracuse ’98 wins around a horrific loss to Baylor and failed to beat North Carolina in seven tries, speeding him toward a cold-blooded, Thanksgiving-morning firing in 1999. Few were sorry to see him go, but O’Cain did oversee some of the program’s greatest victories.

O’Cain is now the OC at Virginia Tech.


Ranking Miami

September 26, 2009
AP voters still seem confused about where to rank Graig Cooper and Miami, even after their impressive win last week over Georgia Tech.

As a group, AP voters seemed confused about where to rank Graig Cooper and Miami after their impressive win last week over Georgia Tech. (Getty Images/Doug Benc)

Jimmy and I meant to do some more posting earlier in the week. Unfortunately, events conspired against us, but I thought it was important to put up this entry today — even if I am writing it a couple of hours before Miami and Virginia Tech kick off.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises has been drawing a lot of attention this week for the unique methodology he uses to fill out his AP ballot. Essentially, Lesmerises throws out any preconceived notions about how good a team should be and focuses on results.

Some, me included, would argue that Lesmerises is simply doing what an AP voter is supposed to do. However, many people are critical of the approach because he takes a lot of extreme positions. For example, his most recent ballot had Florida at No. 5 (the lowest ranking for the defending national champion), Houston at No. 3 (the Cougars were left off seven ballots this week) and Miami at No. 2.

That last one got me thinking about where the Hurricanes stand in the national rankings. Miami ended up ninth in this week’s AP poll, but there’s nothing close to a consensus among voters about just how good they are.

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